PHILADELPHIA - MARCH 24: Chris Kunitz #14 of the Pittsburgh Penguins scoring the game winner in a shootout against the Philadelphia Flyers on March 24, 2011 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Lou Capozzola/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA -- It's weird how this game works sometimes. On Tuesday night against the Capitals, the Flyers could've walked away with two easy points if only Sergei Bobrovsky played well. Instead, he played perhaps the worst game of his NHL career and the Flyers settled for just one, losing in the shootout.
Tonight against the Penguins, the Flyers could've walked away with two easy points if only the rest of the team played well. Instead, they looked rather disinterested and seemed unable to create any offense and the Flyers settled for just one point, losing in the shootout. Bobrovsky, meanwhile, was brilliant throughout.
You have to give the Pens a lot of credit tonight, and really, over the course of the last few weeks. They've done a great job of staying in the race in both the East and the Atlantic despite all their injuries -- they lose Dustin Jeffrey tonight, too -- and while I still don't think they're a team that can go deep in the postseason as their roster stands now, they're still going to be a tough out in the playoffs.
They played a phenomenal defensive game tonight, and it's clear that Dan Bylsma has a fantastic, systematic game in place. His players are executing. They clog up passing lanes, block shots and just generally limit chances on the whole. It's tough to beat on any night, but the Flyers are a team that can beat it -- as they have several times this season already.
But the Flyers just didn't have the same jump tonight that they had on Tuesday night. Kimmo Timonen said that they might have thought it'd be an easy win with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin out of the lineup -- that the Flyers thought the skating would just come and the win would just come after the Caps game.
It didn't, and as the final eight games play out here over the next three weeks, we'd be lying if we said it wasn't a concern. If the Flyers can't get up and give all of their energy in a game against the Penguins, no matter what time of year and no matter the situation, who's to say the switch is going to flip in the postseason?
No video tonight. Questions with answers and the comment of the night after the jump.
One more thing worth noting: the call on Andreas Nodl for goaltender interference late in the first period led to a Penguins power play goal early in the second, their lone goal of the game before the shootout. It was a bullshit call, and I believe the FSN Pittsburgh announcers, of all people, even agreed with that.
The Flyers could've and should've killed the penalty and didn't, so we're not totally blaming the refs for the goal or the loss or anything like that. It's just worth... you know, pointing out.
Questions with Answers
- Huge game for Bob tonight. How's he do? Bob was great. He followed up the possibly worst game of his career with one of the best.
- The intensity from the Flyers in the last 45 minutes of Tuesday's game, maybe even the entire 60, was off the charts. Does that carry over tonight? Not even close.
- Meszaros and Coburn were great on Tuesday (and Saturday, really). Can they keep it up? I thought the Flyers were very strong defensively all around. Meszaros made a bit of a mistake on the goal, I thought, but all around, the team was very solid defensively. From the net out.
- Kind of piggy-backing off question 3: How much time to SOD and Boynton see tonight? 13 for SOD, 10 for Boynton.
Comment of the Night
Saw two guys in pens jerseys at suburban station clearly lost. I said "hey guys, need some help? I'm on my way to the game too. Just follow me". The one looks at me and says "really? That's surprising coming from a Philly fan."
I put their asses on the blue line.